Fresno State fires head football coach Tim DeRuyter; Offensive Coordinator Eric Kiesau named interim coach
Former Fresno State head football coach Tim DeRuyter was fired Sunday after a 1-7 start to the 2016 campaign, and going 10-24 since capturing the Mountain West Conference championship in 2013.
“Bulldog born, bulldog bred, gonna be a bulldog till the day I’m dead.” Are the words of the late great Jim Sweeney, and are the words DeRuyter used during his introductory press conference back in December of 2012. That reference resonated well with the Red Wave, as it showed DeRuyter paying homage to the legendary coach.
On Sunday Fresno State director of athletics Jim Bartko, along with University president Dr. Joseph Castro made the somewhat surprising move to go in a different direction now, rather than wait to season ends. "Tim DeRuyter is a man of high character - a class individual who is a leader of young men," said Bartko "Over the time I've been here, the football program has shown it has the ability to be a product the Red Wave can be excited about, but the results have not been to the standard we anticipated and expect. "When you make a coaching change the evaluation process covers many aspects of the program. Through this process the decision was made to make a change at this time. There are four remaining football games on the schedule, and the focus will be to prepare and put this team in a place to create success and engage the fan base. We look forward to Eric's (Kiesau) leadership, starting with Friday's Salute to Service game against Air Force." Jim Bartko Fresno State athletic director.
Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau takes over as interim head coach. Kiesau is in his first season at Fresno State, last season he was an offensive analyst at Alabama. Prior to that he's made stops at Kansas, Cal, and Washington. He was in a similar situation in Kansas, when head coach Charlie Weis was fired, and Kiesau was elevated to play caller for the remainder of the season. Kiesau was notified around 8 a.m. Sunday morning. Bartko called and asked if he were interested in being the interim head coach, which Kiesau was. He's been hard at work, and on a short week nonetheless filed with staff meetings, player meetings, and getting up to speed on head coaching duties. Kiesau expressed how he wants the final five weeks to go, and didn't pull any punches, he knows this is a five week audition. "Right now, where we are you can't change the players.... The one thing we can do is change how we play the game." Eric Kiesau interim head football coach. He continues " You got to figure out if you're really all in. If we're all in. I just didn't ask the players, I asked the staff, I asked the water technicians, I asked the managers, I asked the trainers, everybody in the organization that was there. When we do this for the next five weeks we're not going to go 70 percent, we're not going to go 60 percent, if we're going all in, we're going 100 percent." Eric Kiesau.
Winning and meeting expectations were obviously not met, and a key factor in Sunday's decision. Other factors were attendance, and recruiting or lack thereof. Bartko was very straight forward, talking about recruiting the valley, about reaching out to the south valley, particularly Bakersfield, and the "Small towns" in between. Something that DeRuyter and his staff has not done. Several high school and, junior college coaches, say the same thing. There was absolutely no interaction, no dialog, nothing from this staff, or DeRuyter's previous staff. Countless football players from the valley, have said the same thing. Many Mountain West Conference schools were making it out to practice, building relationships with coaches, making it a priority to recruit the San Joaquin Valley, knowing that Fresno State was not recruiting their own back yard. One recruit said, that when other Mountain West schools come to visit at school or their home, that they joke around saying that Fresno State is moving away, and not worried about the valley. No doubt the next head coach at Fresno State will make it a priority to build relationships throughout the valley, from Bakersfield to Sacramento.
As gracious as Tim DeRuyter was when he first set foot on campus, he was just as gracious leaving. Thanking everyone, and leaving with class.
Jeff Tedford, Fresno State alum, and former quarterback. Former CAL coach, and QB guru is ready to coach college ball again. Coached at Fresno State as well. He's currently at the University of Washington as a consultant. Tedford is rumored to be the leading candidate, and option number one.
Lane Kiffen, former Fresno State quarterback, and grad assistant. Has head coaching experience in college and professionally. Currently serves as Alabama's offensive coordinator.
Tim Skipper, Fresno State alum. Has been coaching. Currently he's the running back coach at Florida, with former Fresno State offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.
Doug Nussmeier, former Fresno State offensive coordinator. Turned down to be Southern Miss head football coach last season. He currently serves as Florida's offensive coordinator.